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Black History Month 2024

Tyrell Bell and the Belle Singers, featuring Ian Johnson. Gospel, the latest history series by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., premieres Monday Feb. 12 and Tuesday, Feb. 13 on NEPM TV

Black History is American history. It honors our past, present and future. NEPM is committed to sharing programs this month — and every month — that explore the Black experience. We celebrate Black achievements in history, art, music, culture and more.

NEPM presents: "The Cost of Inheritance" screening & discussion
Springfield College
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
NEPM invites you to a screening of “The Cost of Inheritance,” a film by Yoruba Richen about the U.S. reparations debate. Following the screening, engage in a panel discussion with two of the film’s subjects, Briayna Cuffie and Lotte Lieb Dula; and local experts Dr. Jallicia Jolly and Dr. Stefan M. Bradley, Black studies professors at Amherst College; and Michele Miller, chair of Amherst’s African Heritage Reparation Assembly. The panel will be moderated by Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, chief inclusion and equity officer at GBH Boston. Join us for a night of impactful storytelling and dialogue on historical and social justice, and learn more about the reparative justice work happening in western Massachusetts. RSVP here.

American Masters: How it Feels to be Free
Thursday, Feb. 1 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. on NEPM TV
A documentary that tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American women entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast
Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X
Listen Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. on Classical NEPM
X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is a powerful opera about an icon of Black History by Anthony Davis, with a libretto by Thulani Davis. This performance from November stars baritone Will Liverman in the title role of the visionary civil rights leader. The ensemble cast also features Victor Ryan Robertson, Leah Hawkins, Raehann Bryce-Davis, and Michael Sumuel. Maestro Kazem Abdullah conducts the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Lyla in the Loop
Weekdays at 8 a.m., starting Feb. 5 on NEPM TV
Lyla in the Loop is a funny and engaging new animated series for kids ages 4-8 about Lyla Loops and her fantastical blue sidekick, Stu, who use creative and strategic problem-solving and critical thinking skills to help their family, friends, and community. From building homemade carnival games to creating a new sandwich for the family restaurant — Lyla, Stu, and the whole Loops crew tackle challenges with equal servings of humor and heart.

Finding Your Roots
New episodes Tuesdays, Feb. 6 – 20 at 8 p.m. on NEPM TV
On Feb. 6, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of journalist Sunny Hostin and actor Jesse Williams. On Feb 13, Dr. Gates helps musician Dionne Warwick and actor Danielle Brooks break down barriers imposed by the slave system to learn the names of their ancestors who endured unimaginable ordeals —but emerged to forge families that thrived. On Feb. 20, he maps the family trees of comedian Tracy Morgan and actor Anthony Ramos.

Jazz à la Mode: 4 African-American musicians born in 1924
Listen Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting Feb. 7 on 88.5 NEPM
NEPM Jazz à la Mode host Tom Reney will celebrate four African American musicians born in 1924 saxophonist Lucky Thompson on Feb. 7; vocalist Dinah Washington on Feb. 14; saxophonist Teddy Edwards on Feb. 21; and trumpeter Kenny Dorham on Feb. 28.

Watch Thursday, Feb 8 at 9 p.m. on NEPM TV
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was raised in the crucible of segregated Birmingham but he was forged by its attempt to kill him. When the KKK planted a bomb underneath his bed and he emerged unharmed, he was sure he was saved by God to lead a Movement. His work not only ended legal segregation but led directly to the Civil and Voting Rights Acts — and inspired freedom movements around the world. From Alabama Public Television.

Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Watch Friday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. on NEPM TV
Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a concert celebration honoring the legacy of gospel music in America. As a companion to Gospel, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., secular and gospel artists sing their favorite gospel classics.

Premieres Monday, Feb 12 and Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 9 p.m. on NEPM TV
From the blues to hip hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. Musical styles come and go, but there's one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage and wisdom from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday. GOSPEL, the latest history series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., digs deep into the origin story of Black spirituality through sermon and song.

Basic Black
Watch Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on NEPM TV
Putting the soul in public media since 1968, Basic Black was created during the turmoil of the civil rights movement as a response to the demand for public television programs reflecting the concerns of communities of color.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Thursday, Feb, 15 at 9 p.m.
This film by Ken Burns chronicles the life and career of boxer Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion and one of the greatest fighters of the 20th century. Johnson ultimately lost his title in a bout in Cuba in 1915, after fleeing the United States following his federal conviction for allegedly violating the Mann Act, a progressive-era law intended to crackdown on commercialized vice but used against Johnson.


The Cost of Inheritance
This America ReFramed special explores the complex issue of reparations in the U.S. using a thoughtful approach to history, historical injustices, systemic inequities, and critical dialogue on racial conciliation. Through personal narratives, community inquiries, and scholarly insights, it aims to inspire understanding of the scope and rationale of the reparations debate.

POV: Brief Tender Light
A Ghanaian MIT alum follows four African students at his alma mater as they strive to become agents of change for their home countries Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Over an intimate, nearly decade-long journey, all must decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.

Independent Lens: Racist Trees
Were trees intentionally planted to exclude and segregate a Black neighborhood? Racial tensions ignite in this documentary, when a historically Black neighborhood in Palm Springs, California, fights to remove a towering wall of tamarisk trees. The trees form a barrier, believed by some to segregate the community, frustrating residents who regard them as an enduring symbol of racism.

Independent Lens: Razing Liberty Square
Liberty City, Miami, is home to one of the oldest segregated public housing projects in the United States. Now with rising sea levels, the neighborhood’s higher ground has become something else: real estate gold.

Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom
Stream with NEPM Passport
Go beyond the legend and meet the inspiring woman who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery. Born 200 years ago in Maryland, Harriet Tubman was a conductor of the Underground Railroad, a Civil War scout, nurse and spy, and one of the greatest freedom fighters in our nation’s history.

Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World
Stream with NEPM Passport
Authored by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, who famously labeled Hip Hop as “the Black CNN” for bringing the stories of the street to the mainstream, this 4-part series includes personal testimonies of the MCs, DJs, graffiti artists, filmmakers, politicians and opinion formers who created and shaped its direction as it grew from an underground movement in the Bronx to the most popular music genre in the U.S. and the fastest growing genre in the world today.

American Masters
Basquiat: Rage to Riches
One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a rock star of the early ’80s New York art scene.

Muhammad Ali
Stream with NEPM Passport
Ken Burns brings to life one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans across the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace, and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it. Ali insisted on being himself unconditionally and became a global icon and inspiration to people everywhere.

American Experience: The Blinding of Isaac Woodard
Stream with NEPM Passport
In 1946, Isaac Woodard, a Black army sergeant on his way home to South Carolina after serving in WWII, was pulled from a bus for arguing with the driver. The local chief of police savagely beat him, leaving him unconscious and permanently blind.


Celebrate Black History with PBS Kids Read-Along Videos
PBS Kids has curated a collection of videos that offer read-alongs with artists and celebrities — Amanda Gorman, Misty Copeland, Hana Ali, Carla Hall, Christian Robinson, and others.

How Black History Art Can Spark Conversations with Children
When presented in ways that children can appreciate, art has been proven to produce academic benefits such as increased vocabulary, plus math and reading growth, as well as behavioral benefits such as social-emotional learning. The arts in general, and Black art in particular, can help children resist race-based negativity, giving them the strength, confidence and self-assurance that will help protect them from racial injustices for years to come.

Children’s Books to Celebrate Black Culture
Understanding and celebrating diverse cultures begins the moment children begin exploring and reading books. PBS Kids for Parents has a list of books that offer windows into the world of Black lives and culture.

Teachers and parents turn to PBS Learning Mediafor a wealth of information on just about any school subject — including many relating to Black History month. Units are available on the Freedom Riders, Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, and many more.